Report: Terrorists demand American hostage swap
James Rosen reports from Washington, D.C.
- Duration 4:10
- Date Jan 18, 2013
James Rosen reports from Washington, D.C.
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And we want to begin with the breaking developments in the siege of the Sahara that hostage crisis involving US oil workers overseas.
We're getting new reports now that the terrorists want to swap the Americans.
For jailed terror leaders and Africa more than a hundred people taken hostage said to have been released so far but dozens of others are still.
Unaccounted for this story is changing by the hour and good morning.
That's where we start on Bill Hemmer life here in America this news.
Good morning though -- morning everybody -- -- -- accounted deet tails on this are still very murky but here's what we know right now.
An American plane reportedly landing in Algeria overnight.
Following a raid to save hundreds of people held captive at this natural gas complex in the saharan desert here is secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
Because of the fluidity and the fact that there is.
A lot of planning going on I cannot give you any further details at this time.
About the current situation on the ground but I can say that more broadly what we are seeing.
In -- in Algeria.
Reflects the broader strategic challenge first and foremost for the countries in.
North Africa and for the United States and the broader international community.
Watch this story to the hostage matter being described as fluid and dangerous in our chief Washington correspondent.
James Rosen leads our coverage this morning what is the latest -- James.
-- Martha good morning yeah a lot braking on this story just in the past few minutes the Algerian terrorists behind this plot.
Are reportedly now demanding this according to a Mauritanian news report a prisoner swap they're looking to trade to Americans.
For terror figures who were behind bars not clear exactly where they're behind bars.
An Algerian news agency says 650.
Hostages have been freed.
Unclear to how these terrorists would have gotten a hold.
Of all 650.
Of those hostages they hail from at least ten countries -- -- -- at a BP natural gas complex.
In -- remote stretch of the -- yesterday Algerian special forces launched a helicopter assault on the gas complex.
Which -- -- reportedly killed eighteen of the hostage takers.
It's been reported that two British hostages and two Filipino hostages were also killed in the fighting.
British prime minister David Cameron said this morning the terrorists appear to have been large in number well coordinated and heavily armed.
He also said his government received no advance word of this rescue operation.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is in London this morning he said this morning the US officials are quote working around the clock to ensure the safe return of our citizens bill.
-- throughout this ordeal we have heard that this could be tied to what's happening with the French.
And the neighboring country of -- Now it is that true or can we dismiss that now James.
No I think it's undeniably a factor the group that carried out the original salt on this BP complex is called.
The -- brigade they're based in -- and are as we noted earlier an offshoot of al-Qaeda.
Islamist terrorists took over the northern half of -- some nine months ago making it the largest terrorist safe haven in the world.
France the former colonial power there has just dispatched -- -- 500 troops to now.
Speaking in Italy yesterday secretary Panetta reaffirm that the US has decimated Al qaeda's leadership but then he added an important qualification.
If there's still a threat.
There are threatened Yemen or threaten -- They're a threat as we speak.
In -- They Q I am.
Is part of al-Qaeda.
So we still have a challenge.
To confront terrorism.
And to make sure that they never again get the opportunity.
To attack our country.
And the French are saying just after the early days of their operation in -- that the terrorists there it appeared to be.
-- -- fortified than they were told James thank you James Rosen on that at a Washington not continuing updates throughout the morning Martha.